Vehicle Type: Funny wagon-box thingy

History/Description: From 2009, Nissan brought the Japanese-market cube over to our shores, hoping to appeal to shoppers after a vehicle that combined heaps of space, good fuel efficiency, compact driving manners and a full suite of options and features for customization. The tall and boxy five-door model was marketed not as a car, but as a so-called mobile device, with Nissan hesitating to put the cube (intentionally un-capitalized, since it’s such an individual!) into a vehicle category.

So, look for the recently-discontinued model to offer manual or CVT transmissions, a standard 1.8L engine with 122 horsepower, a full suite of standard safety systems, and room galore on board, especially where headroom was concerned.

Available feature content included automatic climate control, Bluetooth, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a punchy Rockford Fosgate stereo system, and a full range of over 40 individual accessory options, including a curious pad of shag carpet that could be fixed to the dash to hold items in place with its fuzziness. Push-button start with intelligent key, and interior mood lighting were also available.

Shoppers should note that model grades included the cube 1.8, 1.8S and 1.8 SL, from basic to loaded where equipment was concerned. The cube Krom model was a styling package which added exclusive grille treatments, unique wheels, a spoiler, and some upscale feature content.

What Owners Like: Nissan cube owners tend to rave about practicality, better-than-you’d-think performance and driving manners, maneuverability, outward visibility and an all-around fun-to-drive, ready-for-anything sort of package. Gas mileage, a slick-shifting six-speed stick and heaps of interior space, headroom and legroom all round out the appeal. Noise levels are kept nicely in check too. All said, the owners’ community suggests that the cube is surprisingly nice to drive, despite its odd shape suggesting it might be noisy, tippy and slow.

What Owners Dislike: Common gripe points include plasticky and low-budget interior bits, and a tendency for the cube to drive like a sort of four-wheeled kite on the highway when strong wind catches it.

Here’s a look some owner reviews

More on Day-by-Day Review: 2009 Nissan cube

Common Issues: Start your walk-around of a potential used cube candidate with some common checks. Is there rust under the edges of the door or hatch? At the edge of the hood? Do the tires look new and fresh, or aged and worn? Is there any sign of excessive wear around the cargo area, door sills or paint? Confirm proper operation of the rear door latch, several times, ensuring it opens via both the key and the remote release (if equipped). Problems with the rear door latch and lock seem fairly rare, but have been documented. The issue may stem from a bad lock actuator. Be sure to keep your cube’s locks and latches lubricated with a little blast of lithium grease to prevent corrosion to the mechanical bits, and wiring. The same issue may affect other doors, too, so be sure to check them all.

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